Council OKs engineering for GP City Hall HVAC system

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 2, 2013

GROSSE POINTE CITY — City staffers and visitors are finally going to get some relief from the fickle whims of Mother Nature.

At a meeting June 17, the City Council unanimously approved a proposal from Troy-based Peter Basso Associates to do the engineering for a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at City Hall. Basso is the engineering firm hired to analyze the heating and cooling system at the building. The engineering phase will cost the City $12,500, administrators said.

“The amount looks reasonable,” Mayor Dale Scrace said of the engineering proposal, which includes design and bid administration costs.

The heating and cooling system has been unpredictable, at best, for some time now, Public Services Director Gary Huvaere said. In April, administrators sought council approval for an emergency expenditure to replace the boiler, which had stopped working. At that time, Basso recommended replacing the City’s existing boiler with two new ones as soon as possible. Two studies of the HVAC system at City Hall demonstrated “excessive energy use,” Huvaere said. City staffers were attempting to keep warm with space heaters near their desks, City Manager Pete Dame said.

“We’ve had a lot of history with this boiler,” Huvaere told the council at a meeting April 15.

Because they’d had limited time to bid out the emergency boiler replacement, administrators had only been able to secure a single bid in April, from Mechanical Design & Installation LLC of Wixom, which offered to replace the boilers for $41,193. The company had been recommended by Basso and was the only one of three that City administrators approached to submit a bid to install the two new boilers. Huvaere said the bid amount for the boilers was within the expected range for a project like this, and Dame concurred.

“It’s not going to be significantly less than $40,000 if we rebid it,” Dame said.

However, some council members said they wanted to see the project bid out as a whole, not in parts, and some were apprehensive about the fact that the City had only been able to get one bid on the boilers.

“I’m most concerned it’s got to be done right. … In my opinion, I really think we need to look at having the project bid as one complete project,” City Council member Christopher Boettcher said in April.

As a result, administrators shelved the emergency repair.

At the June meeting, Huvaere said Basso would be finalizing the design of the HVAC system controls, administering bidding and making a recommendation to the City on contractors.

Money for this work was set aside in the 2013-14 capital projects fund, Huvaere said. The final cost won’t be known until the bids are received.